Sunday, November 23, 2014



I mentioned the other day that we ordered glasses (including an extra pair at a discount) for our 11 year old daughter this past Wednesday. We were told that they would take about 7-10 days, but on Friday they called to say the glasses had already arrived. Sean took her to pick them up after Hockey yesterday morning. She is still getting used to wearing them but I think she looks adorable… and so much older! 

Mama’s Notebooks {Sponsored Giveaway}

It's time for another giveaway from Mama’s Notebooks!

Mama's Notebooks brings you helpful notebooks to organize your family life. All of our notebooks are designed from the ground up by a Mom for other Moms, and feature simple and effective charts, lists, and ideas to help your family life run more smoothly!

Of all the notebooks created by Heather the original Mama’s Notebook is my favorite!

I love that it doesn't include pre-printed dates, so when I misplace it for a week (or three!) I can pick up right where I left off without wasting any pages.

I love using it to plan our menu for the week including any special occasions or feast days!

And I especially love all the space provided for my "Weekly Lists & Goals."

You can find additional information and pictures in my past reviews here and here.
You can also find Mama's Notebooks on Facebook and Pinterest!

All notebooks are currently 20% off and one of the coupon codes below can be used in addition to the sale. It's a perfect time to purchase notebooks for the upcoming year or to give as Christmas gifts!

  • FLASH30: 30% off until November 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM.
  • TRESACE: Buy three books and get one of equal or lesser value free (no end date listed).
  • FAST5: 5% off.

Mama's Notebooks has offered to give the winner of this giveaway one notebook of their choice! 

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Instagram Recap

I always hesitate before posting a picture to Instagram and wonder if I should "save" it for the blog… I love Instagram, but the blog has always been my favorite spot to record special moments and memories. I thought I'd share this week's Instagram recap in 7 Quick Takes.

— 1 —

I love it when he wakes up in such a great mood, especially on Monday morning! 

"Look!! There's the peacock!!!"

— 2 —

Over the weekend I had the children all choose "five favorite" ChristmasBooks to share! The list of all 35 favorites, along with a giveaway for an autographed copy of ChristmasMosaic by Cay Gibson can be found {here}.

There is still time to enter the giveaway

— 3 —

Lunch date with my husband! He says I look younger for some reason…

On Tuesday morning I had another appointment at the orthodontist, this time for braces on my top teeth. I had been stressing out over it for months and was fighting tears when they started making the impressions a couple weeks ago... If it wasn't necessary I wouldn't have even considered it (my five years in braces as a child was plenty, not to mention pretty traumatic!) but my top teeth are collapsing inwards and have been causing bite issues. My bottom teeth are fine, thanks to a permanent retainer, and I'll only be wearing them for about six months. 

Thankfully we have great dental insurance right now that, combined with the family discount, covered about 75% of the cost. Invisalign was an option, but it was so much more expensive and I couldn't justify the extra expense just for my pride and vanity… I actually joked about going into hibernation for the next six months, but decided to just "rip the bandaid off" and post a picture. So far they haven't been nearly as bad as I remember.  And I picked "lavender" so I'm all ready for Advent! ;) 

Oh! When we were at the grocery store the other night Sean had to run and get one last thing so I was at the checkout by myself. When the cashier got to the bottles of wine she looked up and said, "Ummm… I'm going to need to see your ID." I laughed and handed it to her. She looked at my driver's license, back up at me (standing there with my hair in a pony tail and braces on my teeth), and back at my driver's license before mumbling "I never would have guessed." I'm not sure if that should make me feel young or really old! ;) 

— 4 —

It's been such a full week, complete with new accessories for a couple of us girls... Apparently that trademark glare of hers is really just her squinting to focus and see! Glasses are on the way. So thankful that there was an easy explanation and fix for the headaches she has been getting lately during school and piano lessons.

— 5 —

I was reading the papers from this week and had to show this one to my husband-it had us both cracking up! It was a creative writing assignment for our 9 year old (who apparently has "many exciting activities") using her "brain inventory." Looks like she included all the required #iew dress-ups ("-ly" adverb, who/which clause, strong verb, quality adjective, because clause, and adverbial clause), the topic & clincher sentences repeat or reflect the same key words, and the title repeats key words from the final sentence. I'm going to have to show it to my brothers, her "uncles who came freely because they wanted to hang out near the motor home and sit by the fire." I love it!

Chiquita just completed the final lesson of Student Writing Intensive Level A. She started it the second half of last school year, in 3rd grade, and completed it the first part of this school year. (Our older children are using the SWI Continuation Course Level A and Level B, combined with the Fix It! Grammar. The new revised versions of Fix It! are so great!) We are taking next week off of (most) school work and then in December we're all focusing on a literature unit study and lap book. After our Christmas break she'll either begin the Continuation Course for Level A or one of the Level A themed-based writing programs for the rest of the school year.

— 6 —

Ack! What made me think I could dust around these minifigs?! They are like dominoes! Every time I try to fix one that I've knocked over, even more fall down. I'm just going to stop now or the boys are going to come home from hockey and discover that their whole army has been taken out!

Yeah... I think I need to make them do their own dusting!

The boys love their Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Lego sets! Lego just came out with a few new Hobbit sets (The Lonely Mountain, The Battle of the Five Armies, Attack on Lake-Town, and Witch-King Battle)  and I'm secretly hoping that will be the end of the series! ;)  You can see how the boys organize their mini figures (when there isn't a war in progress) here

— 7 —

He has been sitting there playing for the last couple hours and every time he picks up the doll his Godmother painted for him he smiles and says "St. Andrew!!!" So cute!

This Medieval Castle was one of his gifts last Christmas.  Our girls have had the Princess Castle for about 6-7 years and they still play with it all the time.  The castles are such great toys!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Favorites for Thanksgiving

The last couple years we have hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our home, but this year many of my siblings will be coming to town and we will be going Over the River and Through the Wood to my parent's home!

I'll be bringing the Raspberry Cranberry Jello Mold, Sweet Potatoes, and Apple Cider.  I still plan to bake a turkey at home (probably on Wednesday or Saturday so we will have our own leftovers) as well as some of our favorite turkey themed treats and appetizers!

For All the Saints Artist Trading Card Swap 2014

Our days have been pretty full lately, especially now that hockey season has started, but when I asked the children last night if they wanted to participate in another Artist Trading Card Swap the answer was "YES!!!"

I had originally planned to spend this afternoon completing the next lesson in our Meet the Masters art study, but I think we will focus on the saints instead!

There is still time to join this year's swap hosted by the amazing artists over at Pondered in My Heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bargain Priced Books :: An Alphabet of Saints

Alphabet of Saints
This week only TAN is offering An Alphabet of Saints by Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson at 40% off!

This beautiful book is a reproduction of the original 1905 edition. Each page is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet with a large illustration and story (told in rhyme) of a great saint. From Antony to Martin to Zita, this classic and beloved volume has been helping children master their letters and learn about the great saints of the Church for more than 100 years. Bring this beautifully illustrated book and its long and rich tradition to your home today.

It can also be found here at Amazon.

I love reading the sweet stories found in An Alphabet of Saints to our children and the book can usually be found in our monthly book baskets celebrating the saints.

Many of the Catholic Children's Treasure Box Books are also on sale, marked down to just $3.00 each, including Book 2, Book 11Book 12Book 13Book 14Book 15Book 16Book 17Book 18Book 19Book 20.

Monday, November 17, 2014

35 Favorite Christmas Picture Books for Children {and a Christmas Mosaic giveaway!}

Our Advent and Christmas Book collection has really grown over the past 14 years. I've been getting quite a few requests to share our favorites (not to mention the fact that I was having a hard time choosing which books to wrap up for our Advent Book Basket this year!) so over the weekend I asked each of the children to choose five favorites to share.  They all had such a hard time deciding, and I really thought we would end up with some duplicates, but in the end I was given this big stack of our children's 35 Favorite Christmas Picture Books! 

.: Captain's Favorites :.
(age 14) 

Note: Letters from Father Christmas was in the boys' room on their bookshelf with the rest of their Tolkien books otherwise it would have been included in this list, for sure! 

Christmas at Stony Creek

Stephen's Feast

.: Ranger's Favorites :.
(age 12) 

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

A Small Miracle tells a beautiful story using only illustrations. All the children love this book! 

.: Twinkle Toes' Favorites :.
(age 11) 


.: Chiquita's Favorites :.
(age 9)

(we have the hardcover but you can find an affordable paperback version of Lucia Morning in Sweden here)

Note: Hanna's Christmas is out of print and hard to find at a reasonable price, especially this time of year, but you can watch the author read it aloud on Youtube!

You can also find an audio version of Lucia: Saint of Light online here

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

.: Snuggles' Favorites :.
(age 7) 

Christmas Cobwebs? I'm not sure if I'd be smiling to wake up to our tree covered in cobwebs! ;) 

The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher is such a fun book to read!  And I love that I'm not in tears by the end, like I am after reading so many other Christmas picture books. 

In the Archives: 

.: Rose's Favorites :.
(age 4) 

The Doll's Christmas

Mortimer's Christmas Manger

.: Bud's Favorites :.
(age 2) 

Bethlehem (Catholic Edition)

My Wonderful Christmas Tree

The Donkey's Dream

I still need to pick up some purple paper so I can finish wrapping 25 of these books for this Advent (Nov 30th -Dec 24th), but at least I had a little help narrowing down my options! 

.: Giveaway :. 

Christmas Mosaic
(Note: My copy pictured above is the original spiral bound version. The winner of the giveaway will receive a new autographed copy directly from Cay Gibson.)

Study guides for many of our favorite Christmas picture books can be found in Christmas Mosaic. Cay Gibson, author of Catholic Mosaic and Christmas Mosaic, has generously offered to send one of my visitors an autographed copy of Christmas Mosaic! You can also click over to Cay's blog to learn more about Christmas Mosaic!

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

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